Another TN Option for FreeSync Fans
If you had asked me a year ago how many monitors we would be able to store in the PC Perspective offices, I would have vastly underestimated the true answer. It seems that not only is the demand from readers for information about the latest and greatest display technology at a demand that we have never seen, but vendors that sell high quality monitors for enthusiasts and gamers are pumping out more models than I can keep track of.
But this is good, right? The more options we have, the more likely we are to find the best choice for each user, for each budget and for each required feature set. But more choices can also lead to confusion - that's where we continue to chime in. Today we are taking a look at the ASUS MG278Q monitor, a 27-in 2560x1440 display with support for AMD FreeSync technology and sporting a maximum refresh rate of 144Hz. With a TN panel rather than IPS, the MG278Q has a current selling price of just $399, well under the equivalent G-Sync monitors.
Even better, since we started our evaluation on the display, AMD released the Radeon Crimson driver, introducing a new feature called Low Frame Rate Compensation. This essentially allows most of the FreeSync displays on the market to match NVIDIA G-Sync's ability to handle lower frame rates without resorting to V-Sync tearing, etc. If you haven't read about it, do so in the link above.
Subject: General Tech | December 23, 2015 - 11:23 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, asus, X99-E WS, microsoft, surface pro 4, surface book, htc, vive, ECS, LIVA, vulkan, dx12, Mantle, nvidia, shield tablet k1
PC Perspective Podcast #380 - 12/24/2015
Join us this week as we discuss Microsoft's Surface Devices, the ASUS X99-E WS. HTC Vive and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Morry Tietelman, and Sebastian Peak
Program length: 1:23:31
Week in Review:
0:39:25 This week’s podcast is brought to you by Casper. Use code PCPER at checkout for $50 towards your order!
News item of interest:
0:59:55 Vulkan API Slips to 2016
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
Morry: Thermaltake Core X9 case
Subject: Motherboards | December 19, 2015 - 11:09 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: motherboard, Intel Xeon E3-1200, Intel C232, E3 Pro Gaming V5, ATX motherboard, asus
ASUS has introduced a new ATX gaming motherboard for Intel's 6th-generation Xeon E3-1200 server processors, offering premium desktop gaming features on a board built with Intel's C232 chipset.
The board is built with Intel's C232 chipset, needed to support the Xeon E3-1200 processors (not compatible with desktop chipsets). Intel's C232 product page lists a maximum of only 8 PCI Express lanes, so (as pointed out in the comments) the E3-1200 and desktop Skylake processors will provide 16 lanes to the first PCIe slot, with the C232 providing up to 8 more for the other slots. (Intel's C236 chipset, the other chipset supporting these new Skylake Xeon CPUs, supports 20 PCIe lanes.)
The E3 Pro Gaming V5 supports not only E3-1200 series Xeon processors, but 6th-generation Intel Core and Pentium/Celeron CPUs as well with its LGA1151 socket. Why exactly would a server CPU be an attractive option for a gaming rig anyway? For one thing the 4 core/8 thread Skylake desktop CPU (the i7-6700K) is difficult to find and currently $419.99 on Newegg (and out of stock). A Skylake Xeon E3-1230 v5 on the other hand (all models above E3-1220/1225 are 4 core/8 thread) starts at $274.99 (Newegg).
Here are some of the specifications from ASUS:
- CPU: Intel Socket 1151 for Xeon E3-1200 v5 and 6th genereation Core, Pentium and Celeron Processors
- Chipset: Intel C232
- Memory: 4x DIMM, Max. 64GB, DDR4 2133 MHz Non-ECC, Un-buffered Memory, Dual-Channel Memory Architecture
- Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
- Expansion Slots:
- 1x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (x16 mode)
- 1x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x16 (max at x4 mode)
- 2x PCIe 3.0/2.0 x1
- 2x PCI
- Multi-GPU Support: Supports AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX Technology, AMD 2-Way CrossFireX Technology
- Storage: (Intel C232 chipset) 1x M.2 Socket 3 with M Key design, type 2242/2260/2280/22110 storage devices support (Supports both SATA & PCIE SSD), 6x SATA 6Gb/s ports, support Raid 0, 1, 5, 10
- Intel Rapid Storage Technology Enterprise support
- LAN: Intel I219LM, 1x Gigabit LAN Controller, GameFirst technology, Anti-surge LANGuard
- Audio: SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio
- USB Ports:
- (ASMedia USB 3.1 controller) 1x USB 3.1 Type-A, 1x USB 3.1 Type-C
- (Intel C232 chipset) 6x USB 3.0/2.0 ports
- Form Factor: ATX (12 inch x 9.6 inch)
Availability for the U.S.A. was not specified, but according to the press release (accessed via Vortez here) it will be offered in the UK with an MSRP of £118.10, or approximately $175 US.
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of ASUS
The X99-E WS/USB 3.1 is leading board in ASUS' Workstation line for the Intel X99 chipset with enhanced support for USB 3.1-based devices. The board features full support for all Intel LGA2011-3 based processors paired with DDR4 memory operating in up to a quad channel configuration. Priced at a hefty $539.99, the X99-E WS/USB 3.1 board comes with an immense feature set to more than justify its massive price tag.
Courtesy of ASUS
Courtesy of ASUS
Powering the X99-E WS/USB 3.1 board is an 8-phase digital power system featuring high efficiency Beat Thermal chokes, Dr. MOS MOSFETs, and 12k rated solid capacitors. Additionally, ASUS integrated their CPU OC Socket into the board's design, ensuring board's overclocking potential. The integrated PLX chip enhances the board's graphics bandwidth, offering full x16 bandwidth with four card populated and x8 bandwidth with all seven PCIe x16 slots populated.
ASUS chose to integrate the following features into the X99-E WS/USB 3.1 board: eight SATA 3 ports; two SATA-Express ports; one M.2 PCIe x4 capable port; two eSATA ports; Intel I218LM and I210-AT Gigabit NICs; seven PCI-Express x16 slots; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; on-board power, reset, CMOS clear, MemOK!, Q-Code Logger, and BIOS Flashback buttons; TPU, EPU, Dr. Power, and EZ_XMP switches; Crystal Audio 2 audio subsystem; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A port support.
Subject: Graphics Cards | December 14, 2015 - 03:55 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: amd, asus, STRIX R9 380X DirectCU II OC, overclock
Out of the box the ASUS STRIX R9 380X OC has a top GPU speed of 1030MHz and memory at 5.7GHz, enough to outperform a stock GTX 960 4GB at 1440p but not enough to provide satisfactory performance at that resolution. After spending some time with the card, [H]ard|OCP determined that the best overclock they could coax out of this particular GPU was 1175MHz and 6.5GHz, so they set about testing the performance at 1440p again. To make it fair they also overclocked their STRIX GTX 960 OC 4GB to 1527MHz and 8GHz. Read the full review for the detailed results, you will see that overclocking your 380X does really increase the value you get for your money.
"We take the new ASUS STRIX R9 380X DirectCU II OC based on AMD's new Radeon R9 380X GPU and overclock this video card to its highest potential. We'll compare performance in six games, including Fallout 4, to a highly overclocked ASUS GeForce GTX 960 4GB video card and find out who dominates 1440p gaming."
Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:
- Sapphire R9 390 Nitro 8GB @ Kitguru
- XFX R9 380X DD XXX OC Review @ OCC
- AMD R9 380X 4GB Graphics Card CrossFire @ eTeknix
- HIS R9 380X IceQ X2 Turbo 4GB Video Card Review @ Madshrimps
Subject: General Tech | December 7, 2015 - 05:50 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: STRIX Soar, sound card, audio, asus
Ever since the NFORCE2 chipset's onboard audio codec we have seen a huge increase in the quality of integrated sound on motherboards and we have hit a point where you no longer need a soundcard for general usage. This has sparked an interesting competition among soundcard makers, searching for a way to make their product relevant to users. We have seen the return of tubes, programmable and replaceable OPAmps, powered headphone ports and a variety of other features.
ASUS has released the STRIX Soar 7.1 PCIe card recently and Kitguru got a chance to review the board. It certainly looks as pretty as the cards which come with high end motherboards and is thin enough not to encroach on systems with multiple cards already installed but does it offer compelling reasons to purchase the card? Kitguru gave it their "Must Have" award so there must be something attractive about the card, check out the full review to hear more about it.
"Today we look at the most affordable of the STRIX sound cards, the Soar. Although it has much the same hardware and features as its bigger brothers, it is more affordable which could be the real kicker in convincing potential buyers."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Creative Sound Blaster Roar 2 @ techPowerUp
- SilverStone Hi-Fi Audio Headphone Stand @ Benchmark Reviews
- Astro A40 TR + Mix Amp Pro & Mod Kit Multi-Format Pro Gaming Headset @ eTeknix
- G.Skill Ripjaws SR910 real 7.1 @ Kitguru
- Steelseries Siberia 200 Headset Review @ Hardware Canucks
Subject: Motherboards | December 3, 2015 - 01:39 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: skylake-s, ROG, Republic of Gamers, Maximus VIII Impact, lga1151, Intel Z170, asus
Before looking at this particular Maximus board, make sure you have checked out Morry's review of the Silver Award winning Maximus VIII Gene as it is well worth the read. If you find that a mATX board is simply too big for you then you could consider the ASUS Maximus VIII Impact, a mini-ITX board with a fair spread of features. You are limited to a single x16 PCIe slot but that leaves plenty of channels for 6 USB 3.0, two 3.1 ports of which one is a Type-C connector, four SATA 6GBps ports and U.2 as well. This board also features the SupremeFX audio found on the Gene, albeit in a slightly different form and adds dual channel WiFi support as well. [H]ard|OCP were very impressed with Impact, check out the many reasons why it picked up their top awards here.
"Let’s face it, most sequels are never as good as the original films. When it comes to motherboards the opposite usually rings true. ASUS’ Republic of Gamers brand has had several iterations of the mini-ITX Maximus Impact, today we have version VIII. Hopefully ASUS continues its track record of great sequels."
Here are some more Motherboard articles from around the web:
- Gigabyte's Z170X-Gaming G1 @ The Tech Report
- Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 TH @ eTeknix
- MSI B150M Mortar Review @ OCC
- GIGABYTE Z170-HD3 Review; DDR3 & Skylake @ Hardware Canucks
- Gigabyte Z170X-UD5 @ Modders-Inc
- FIRST LOOK Gigabyte H170N-WIFI Motherboard @ Hardware Secrets
- Gigabyte GA-H110M-A: A Sub-$60 Intel Skylake Motherboard @ Phoronix
Introduction and Technical Specifications
Courtesy of ASUS
The Maximus VIII Gene is one of the Intel Z170 chipset offerings in the ROG (Republic of Gamer) board line. The board features the standard black and red ROG aesthetics in an mATX form factor to accommodate space constrained system builds. ASUS chose to integrate black-chrome heat sinks into the board's build, giving it a sleek and modern appearance. The board's integrated Intel Z170 chipset integrates support for the latest Intel LGA1151 Skylake processor line as well as Dual Channel DDR4 memory. With an MSRP of $230, the Maximus VIII Gene offers a compelling price for a feature-packed product.
Courtesy of ASUS
Courtesy of ASUS
The Maximus VIII Gene features an 8+2 phase digital power system, providing more than enough power to the CPU and integrated GPU for whatever you choose to throw at it. ASUS integrated the following features into the Maximus VIII Gene board: two SATA 3 ports; two SATA-Express ports; one M.2 PCIe x4 capable port; an Intel I219-V Gigabit NIC; two PCI-Express x16 slots; one PCI-Express x4 slot; on-board power, reset, MemOK!, Safe Boot, ReTry, Clear CMOS, and USB BIOS Flashback buttons; ROG SupremeFX 2015 8-Channel audio subsystem; integrated DisplayPort and HDMI video ports; and USB 2.0, 3.0, and 3.1 Type-A and Type-C port support.
Subject: Graphics Cards | November 26, 2015 - 09:42 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: asus, 980 Ti
As most of our readers are well aware, the graphics market is dominated by two GPU vendors, both of which sell chips and reference designs to add-in board partners. ASUS is one of the oldest add-in board partners. According to their anniversary website, ASUS even produced a card that was based on the S3 ViRGE/DX graphics chipset all the way back in 1996.
To celebrate their 20th anniversary, although they don't exactly state when they start counting, ASUS has released a few high-end versions of Maxwell-based graphics cards. This one is the ASUS 20th Anniversary Gold Edition GTX 980 Ti. It comes with a base clock speed of 1266 MHz, which boosts up to 1367 MHz as needed. This is quite high, considering the reference card is clocked at 1000 MHz and boosts to 1189 MHz, although overclocking the 980 Ti is not too difficult to begin with. Ryan got up to 1465 MHz with a reference card. The Gold Edition GTX 980 Ti might go even higher with its enhanced cooling and power delivery, and it's designed for liquid nitrogen if you're that type of enthusiast.
Speaking of liquid nitrogen features, the card advertises a “Memory Defroster” feature that looks rather extreme. I can't say that I've ever seen a graphics card get covered in a visible layer of ice, but I've also never attached it to a reservoir of liquid with a temperature that's easier to write in Kelvin than Celcius.
Is this a legit problem? Or does this seem like “anti-dust shield” to everyone else too?
The ASUS 20th Anniversary Gold Edition GTX 980 Ti ships this month.
Subject: Systems, Mobile | November 22, 2015 - 01:30 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: Skylake, PCIe SSD, notebook, N752, N552, laptop, ips, Intel Core i7, GTX 960M, asus, 4k
ASUS has added two new laptops to their N series line up premium, entertainment-focused laptops. The new models offer Intel’s 6th-gen (Skylake) Core i7 processors and high resolution IPS displays, as well as fast PCIe storage and discrete NVIDIA graphics.
The new models are the 15.6-inch N552 and 17.3-inch N752, and both sizes offer wide-gamut IPS display options up to 3840x2160 with 100% sRGB coverage. The displays are powered by graphics up to a discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M. Quad-core Intel Core i7 processors power both models, with a generous 16GB of RAM standard. Storage is provided via PCIe x4 storage with speeds of 1500 MB/s with capacities up to 512 MB, and external connectivity includes a USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port.
While boasting powerful specs these N-series laptops are also geared toward entertainment, with ASUS drawing attention to the sound from their “SonicMaster” audio system, which boasts powerful B&O ICEpower class-D amplification for the laptop’s front-facing speakers. Other features include backlit keys which offer 1.8 mm travel, and aluminum covering the keyboard area and lid.
The new models haven’t shown up on the U.S. product pages just yet, so pricing and availability are not yet known.